Ashley Walters was a rookie on the Montezuma, Georgia police force. She couldn't let go of the past and wanted nothing more than her brother Eric's ten year old murder case solved. She seemed to only enjoy two things in her life - creating paintings and arresting criminals, like the one that killed her brother. She avoided romantic relationships. Then she was introduced to Patrick James, a marriage and family counselor. She was surprised to be attracted to him. Ashley also met another man, Jonathan Yoder, that she found attractive. This was another surprise since he was Mennonite. He had a faith in God that was unshakable, very much unlike her own faith.
The city wanted to buy the farm of Jonathan's aunt, Anna Yoder, for a revitalization project. They planned to build a Mennonite museum on the property. Anna refused to sell. Accidents started to happen on the farm. Many people were blaming them on Bradley, Anna's adopted son. Shortly before his father died, he started getting into trouble. Circumstances caused Ashley and Patrick to befriend Bradley. Ashley saw her brother Eric in Bradley. Patrick saw a patient that could be helped with his psychological training.
The ending is exciting and suspenseful with discovering who was causing all the accidents on the farm. Was it Bradley or someone else? The author leads the reader to believe it could be one of several people. Can Ashley let go of the past to move on with her life and relationships with God and others? The author did a good job of keeping me guessing where Ashley's affections lied. Being a Christian, I also found myself attracted to the Godly character of Jonathan, who sums up the theme of the book - we need to trust that God is in control of our life and to let Him be in control. He turned to God with prayer in every situation in his life. He lived the Christian life through his actions and words. His faith was in God alone. I can't wait the read book #2! There is romance and mystery in this story. If you are a fan of these, this book is for you.
Place Of Refuge Series
#1 Hiding In Plain Sight
#2 Nowhere To Run (released on 9/15/12)
I received a free copy of this ebook from NetGalley and Harvest House Publishers for my honest opinion.
Ashley Walters has recently moved to Montezuma, Georgia, a small town with a sizeable Mennonite community. She is still mourning the death of her brother, Eric, who died ten years ago when she was eighteen, an unsolved crime that inspired her decision to join the police. One night, a callout to a store robbery introduces her to Bradley Yoder, a thirteen-year-old Mennonite boy who is searching for his birth mother following the death of his adoptive father. She befriends Bradley and his handsome uncle, Jonathan, and finds that Bradley is implicated in a series of accidents at the Yoder farm.
She has also started dating for the first time since Eric's death, after being set up by a neighbour. Patrick is a marriage and relationship counsellor and a Christian (even though Ashley hasn't been on speaking terms with God since Eric died). He is on the town's revitalisation committee, which has plans to revitalise Montezuma by capitalising on its Mennonite heritage. But the investor wants to forbid the Mennonites from sharing the faith that defines them as a group, which causes friction.
I thought I knew where this story was going after the first few chapters, but then it changed to become more of a romantic suspense, with the addition of the farm accidents and occasional scenes from the point of view of the vandal, as we try to puzzle out his identity. I liked the subtle way the author introduced this, and the way it gradually grew in importance as the story progresses, while other plot points that I had thought would be important turned out not to be.
I really liked the way Hiding in Plain Sight dealt with Ashley's attitude towards God. She softens gradually throughout the story, in a way that felt a lot more realistic than many Christian authors manage. I also liked the strong underlying theme of faith and forgiveness, and the way the author built it in without preaching, but without compromise.
There were a couple of conversations that I had to reread to work out who was actually speaking, although that could have been because I was reading an ARC with some formatting issues and a couple of typos. (An ARC is an advance reader copy of the book, provided to people like booksellers, librarians and reviewers in advance of publication. Sometimes these are the 'clean' ebook version of the printed book, but often, as in this case, they are unproofed copies so there can be mistakes.)
Overall, this was a well-written book with a solid underlying Christian theme, and some lovely poetic language hidden between the more suspenseful scenes.
Thanks to Harvest House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
This Book was supplied to me by Harvest House Publishers through NetGalley for a review in return.
In a quiet town with a thriving Mennonite community, police officer Ashley Walters finds her threadbare faith and way of life challenged by the Plain people whose simple dress and welcoming manner open her eyes to a God she left behind. Peace eludes Ashley until she realizes the answers she seeks aren't found in starting over but in returning to the simple truth that it's God who overcomes the world, not her.
This book is the first book in the Place of Refuge Series. This is the first book I have ever read by Amy Wallace. I'll tell you one thing it will not be the last. I loved this book so much, I couldn't put it down.
Ashley Walters has a lot of issues with her faith and just dealing with her brother's death. She becomes a police officer to help her deal with some of those issues, but throughout the book, she realizes she needs God to help her. This is one of the best books I have read in a while about how people deal with their faith in God. I think that Amy Wallace shows you that throughout this entire book.
You know all of us have issues, but we all need to just turn to the Lord. I forget about that also, like Ashley did. It just hit home for me.
Through the book, she meets a Mennonite family who she falls in love with. She also starts dating Patrick. It is a GREAT story, one that you will love.
I won't say anything else, I don't want to spoil the book for you. I would definitely suggest this book to my friends and family. Again, I love this book and thank you to Harvest House Publishers for giving me an opportunity to review this book.
Welcome to small town middle-Georgia in a struggle to revitalize the small town's businesses, not trouble the local Mennonite community, and the machinations of a group that seems intent to modernize and expand the area into a commercial tourist mecca.
Factor in a trouble teen who just happens to be Mennonite and who has a penchant for playing with matches and you have a perfect storm for mischief by unknown parties. You have an opportunity to nefariously acquire coveted Mennonite land for purposes other than farming.
When Ashley, the lead female character, is involved as a police officer investigating incidences of vandalism and personal harm to individuals, her own troubled past colors her thinking and emotional involvement.
It is hard to pinpoint the male lead character. I'd say it most likely is Patrick, a resident counselor who is introduced socially to Ashley. They strike up an emotionally charged relationship. He understands, as a friend and as a counselor, Ashley's buried emotional minefield and seeks to diffuse it as she gradually reveals bits and pieces of herself to him.
Amy Wallace has written a story revealing more of the Mennonites' peaceful life and faith and their ability to forgive as the Heavenly Father forgives. I recommend this as a pleasant, interesting, and revealing read.
ISBN: 978-0-7369-4731-2 Publisher: Harvest House
DISCLOSURE: I was provided a complimentary copy of "Hiding in Plain Sight" by the publisher, Harvest House Publishers, in exchange for my honest review and opinion. I was not required to render a positive review.